New Focus at JSMA

Thank you for your interest in my appointment as the photography curator at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) and for allowing me to share my passion for this medium with your readers. I would be remiss, however, in not bringing to your attention a series of inaccuracies in the article “Buried Treasure” (EW, 6/6) by Blake Andrews.

Andrews states a number of times that the photographs in the JSMA collection are “poorly catalogued,” that “no one is quite sure what is in the collection” and that “no systematic hands-on assessment has ever been performed.” His storytelling confuses my personal mindset while assessing for the first time the prints in the collection with how broader museum collection management systems actually work.

The JSMA is an accredited museum that follows best practices in the documentation, provenance research and storage of artwork. As an academic museum, the JSMA ensures that all of our collections are readily accessible to support our teaching mission.

The museum has been a serious collector of photographs for more than 50 years. Its current staff is well versed in the medium and has enriched the collection in number and cultural diversity. To enhance that process, for the past two years the museum has created committees to identify how the collections need to grow in response to academic and community interest.

I am especially excited to join such a professional, dedicated and imaginative team to build on this solid foundation.

Thom Sempere

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art